Kyiv is slowly attacking Ukraine’s mind-boggling landmine contamination problem in the three main areas of the UN’s five pillars: risk education, victim assistance and landmine clearance.

Desmond Tutu once wisely said that “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time,” and that is the mindset of Ukraine as it does its best to deal with the daunting levels of landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination it faces.

Serhiy Reva, the head of the humanitarian demining organization department of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU), gave an update on mine action progress at on Thursday.

Explosive risk education

Reva said that “Unfortunately, war leaves its mark, and we have civilian casualties due to the detonation of mines and other explosive objects.” He quantified the level of casualties since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, as being more than 270 killed and over 600 injured by mines and explosive devices.


He underlined the importance of explosive risk education for those who were at most danger from explosive objects. He said that in the two years since the start of the war more than 33,000 training sessions have been carried out for almost 1.1 million people. He said there was a priority to teach of the rules of safety and behavior in the event they came across explosive items.

It should be noted that the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) NGO report in January indicated that rural populations, rescue workers, deminers, and humanitarian volunteers are the most affected groups, with adults of working age being most at risk.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 20, 2024
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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 20, 2024

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Landmine clearance (demining)

Reva said that 156 thousand square kilometers of Ukraine are potentially dangerous and will require to be surveyed and demined. This was a slight improvement on previous assessments that 174,000 square kilometers were affected.

Reva said: “Thanks to the joint efforts of the Defense Forces and mine action operators, according to the National Mine Action Authority, last year it was possible to reduce from 174,000 square kilometers to 156,000 square kilometers of territories that are currently assessed as potentially dangerous and in need of survey and demining.”


Victim assistance – digital accessibility

One area that has been improved greatly is ensuring that those disabled by landmine explosions have access to state resources online.

Dmytro Popov a digital accessibility consultant for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) said that accessibility of 100 government websites online resources has increased for the second year in a row. The study, in partnership with the Ministry of Digital Transformation, found that 22 percent of government websites provide sufficient or high levels of accessibility for the disabled in 2023, a nine percent increase since 2021

Popov said that of the sites checked, 23 showed increased accessibility markers, 52 remained at previous levels and 20 sites showed some weakening. He highlighted the four best performers in this area as being: the Diya.Barrier-free portal, and those of the Lviv, Vinnytsia and Kharkiv Regional State Administrations. In addition to these he said that the websites of the Ministry of Economy, Poltava, and Volyn regional state administrations had made the most improvement.


The head of the UNDP Action Support Project in Ukraine, Volodymyr Brusilovskyi, said that Ukraine had the issue of web accessibility one of the key issues for its digitalization program and that UNDP would continue to provide support to those ministries and other bodies which try to make their resources as accessible as possible.

Valeriya Tkach, Deputy Director of the Department for the Development of Electronic Services at the Ministry of Digital Transformation, said “Our main goals for this year are to bring all our web resources to digital accessibility, help central and local executive authorities, and increase electronic services.”

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